Bright colour and plenty of pattern are welcome in this Hamilton family home
Angie Millar has always had a thing for colour – but despite knowing what she liked, when it came to applying it to her newly renovated Hamilton home, she needed a little guidance.
Angie and husband Ryan initially rented their home, which was built in 1982 on a strawberry farm. At that time, they often talked about what they would do to the house if they owned it. So when they took the opportunity to buy it, in December 2013, they were already clear on what renovations were needed to create the perfect home for themselves and their three young children, Matilda, Mack and Lulu.
Ryan, a builder, set to work removing the dated carpet, curtains, the brown joinery, old light fittings and creamy brown wallpaper throughout. He re-jibbed and plastered walls, stripped wallpaper, painted, and fitted new joinery. “He worked tirelessly without much complaint,” says Angie. “We did it room by room. For the playroom, Ryan ripped out a wall and put in another to create a bigger space for the kids to play in. He built all the storage, the desk area and the box seating.”
Knowing that she and Ryan could take care of the renovation work themselves, Angie turned her focus to the interior design. As a follower of the Cush and Nooks blog, she was one of the first to learn that its founder, Vic Bibby, was joining fellow interior designer Dael Brady to form Bibby + Brady. When they announced their e-design service, providing home makeovers online, Angie became their first customer.
She sent them her Pinterest boards plus a detailed brief as to what she and Ryan wanted, and a plan was put in place. Angie’s brief was for a light, bright, fun family home, but one that wouldn’t be too garish. It needed a cohesive feel that reflected Ryan, the kids and their busy life. “My main goal was for a white and black base with accents of colour,” says Angie. Ryan did all the practical work himself, with Vic and Dael creating a moodboard for each room. The purpose of the moodboards was to apply Angie and Ryan’s style to the interior in a way that would last. “Vic and Dael guided me to make decisions,” says Angie. “They took the elements of colour that I love and made them classy, refining them.”
With its green ceiling, the striking entranceway is a great example of how Vic and Dael introduced Angie’s love of colour into the home. “I had a shade of green I loved,” says Angie. “I wanted people to open the front door and say, ‘Wow’. It was then that Vic and Dael suggested green on the ceiling. “They found a deeper, more subtle shade of green – one that I wouldn’t tire of.” A trio of glass pendants, a mid-century console, a black and white rug and a bold artwork by Melbourne artist Andrew O’Brien made the space complete.
From the entrance, the rug leads down to the heart of the home: the dining area. Laid out in a circular format with a round table on a round rug, and decorated in soothing white and natural tones, it’s a natural focal point. A wooden buffet painted white with knobs from Anthropologie, a yellow pendant light from Homebase Collections and striking Anna Spiro wallpaper break up the white space.
One of the main problem areas for Vic and Dael was the living room, which is partially closed off from the dining area. “We noticed it was unclear where to sit,” says Vic. “Angie said they often sat on the floor. So we removed the chimney fireplace, which freed up space, and then applied zones – one with a couch for the family to sit on, and one with two pink reupholstered antique chairs as a place to sit with a friend and have a glass of wine.”
Creating an individual look while keeping to a budget was the main challenge for the designers. “We had to check every step of the way how it might end up looking, yet keep in mind the cost,” says Vic. “We wanted it to have wow factor so we made sure we had one or two pieces in each room that we splurged on.”
Walking down the hallway from the living area, the door to each child’s bedroom is painted in a different colour, hinting at the decor within. Angie had watermelon and mint colours in mind for Matilda and Lulu’s bedroom. Vic and Dael took this and created a funfair theme.
A scheme that didn’t match too perfectly and fun colours were the brief for Mack’s bedroom. The ‘Scrapwood’ wallpaper by Piet Hein Eek helps create a perfect boy’s retreat, along with skateboards on the wall, a vintage light and a rug to play on.
Another dedicated kids’ space is the playroom. Thanks to the plentiful storage Ryan built in, it’s a place where kids can make a mess without it getting in the way. With a riot of colour throughout most of the home, it seemed only natural to create a soothing setting in the master bedroom. “I wanted soft grey with a fresh white trim and a headboard,” says Angie. A hint of coral gives a nod to the girls’ bedrooms. “Because Ryan and Angie are really busy, they needed somewhere calm to go to. Angie loves colour so there’s a taste of it, but it’s not overwhelming.”
Having utterly transformed the interior in just 18 months, the pair now plan to paint the brown brick exterior black and add cedar trim, as well as tackle some re-landscaping around their new exterior entrance and driveway. But that’s not all for this energetic duo. “The next job will be a big new farmhouse kitchen,” says Angie.
Words by: Catherine Steel. Photos by: Helen Bankers.